How are agriculture biodiversity, diet quality, and anthropometric outcomes linked in low- and middle-income countries? This comprehensive review of 5 databases using qualitative analysis reveals that agricultural biodiversity has a small but consistent association with more diverse household- and individual-level diets, as well as positive outcomes for child growth. Agricultural diversification may contribute to diversified diets through both subsistence- and income-generating pathways and may be an important strategy for improving diets and nutrition outcomes in low- and middle-income countries.
Agriculture and Nutrition Resource Review
The Agriculture and Nutrition Resource Review is a monthly selection of materials to keep you updated on research and developments related to strengthening linkages between agriculture and nutrition. Resources from this month’s review are featured below. To see materials from earlier editions, or to view resources from across SPRING's technical areas, visit the Resource Review.
Interested in a broader perspective? You can find interesting resources from across SPRING’s technical areas in the Resource Review
Critical Review of the Emerging Research Evidence on Agricultural Biodiversity, Diet Diversity, and Nutritional Status in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Priority Interventions to Improve Maternal and Child Diets in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia- Maternal and Child Nutrition
Nutrition-sensitive interventions to improve overall diet quality are increasingly needed to improve maternal and child health. This study demonstrates feasibility of a structured process to leverage local expertise in formulating programs tailored for current circumstances in South Asia and Africa. The results, based on a series of stakeholder workshops, demonstrate that a participatory process can help local experts identify their own priorities for future investments, as a first step in a novel process of rigorous, transparent, and independent priority setting to improve diets among those at greatest risk of undernutrition.
Reports, Tools, and Other Related Materials
This 5-part downloadable toolkit introduces a framework that considers the social context of the agricultural technologies and the specific challenges that women and men farmers face in using the technology. It focuses on three areas: time and labor; food availability, access, quality and safety; and income and assets. The methodology aids practitioners and researchers in assessing whether agricultural technologies they use or will use are gender-responsive and nutrition-sensitive in terms of design, use, and dissemination. The INGENAES technology assessment can be used to improve the design and dissemination of agricultural technologies in ways that increase adoption by men and women farmers.
At a time when donors and governments are increasing efforts to mainstream gender in agriculture, it is critical to revisit long-standing wisdom about gender inequalities in agriculture to be able to more efficiently design and evaluate policy interventions. IFPRI’s report uses 20 years of longitudinal data from Ghana to assess some of the stylized facts and myths about gender in agriculture to evaluate whether gender patterns have changed over time. The blog published details the five themes/myths explored in the report: land, cropping patterns, market participation, agricultural inputs, and employment, to demonstrate the difficulty of making general statements about gender in agriculture.
Launched during the FAO Community on World Food Security CFS44 week, HLPE’s 12th report focuses on nutrition and food systems, analyzing how food systems influence people’s dietary patterns and nutritional status. The report calls for radical transformations in policies and programs that shape food systems with goals to improve the physical and economic access to healthy and sustainable diets; and strengthen consumers’ information and education to enable healthier food choices.
FAO’s annual report delving into the current status of food systems and agriculture calls for a greater focus on progress in rural areas, where most of the poor and hungry live. To achieve “inclusive rural transformation” as part of the 2030 Agenda to reach zero hunger, the report establishes three pillars: supportive public policies and investment, development of agro-industry and the infrastructure needed to connect rural areas and urban market, and a territorial focus in rural development planning.
Unravelling the Food-Health Nexus: Addressing Practices, Political Economy and Power Relations to Build Healthier Food Systems
IPES-Food’ second thematic report identifies the many impacts of food systems on human health, reviewing the latest evidence on the whole range of health impacts associated with food systems around the world. The multiple, interconnected pathways that generate health impacts and the practices they trace back to are identified to provide a full picture of the true costs and benefits of food systems. The report examines the political economy of food systems: why evidence gaps persist, why negative impacts are systematically reproduced, and why certain problems are not politically prioritized.
Online Community Corner
ANH Academy launched a short animation on Food Environments in October to supplement their most recent technical brief, released in May. The one-minute video introduces the factors that determine people's interactions with the food system and what implications this may be having on their diets and nutritional status.
Caregiver Capabilities: A Hidden Link between Agriculture, Nutrition and Child Health (in the series Agriculture-Nutrition-Health linkages: Research in the African context)
Dr. Cynthia Matare lead the first of five installments in a joint webinar series from The ANH Academy and the African Nutrition Society exploring critical links between agriculture, livelihoods, health and individual and household nutrition in Africa. In “Caregiver capabilities,” Dr. Matare shared her qualitative research on women’s time in Zambia, revealing how high demands on women and wives lead to diminished time available for childcare and rest.
A team of researchers from the Egerton University is working on promoting insects as food and feed as a source of protein in the country. The rising cost of conventional animal protein, food and feed insecurity, environmental pressures, population growth, and increasing demand for protein among the middle classes have made insects such as locusts and grasshoppers emerge as sustainable alternative solutions to human food and livestock feed. A cross-section of mothers interviewed in Nairobi expressed various views about feeding their children food that has been made out of locust and grasshoppers, a concern which the research group is determined to tackle through stakeholder meetings and behavior change.
As a feature of Microlinks’ Markets Month, this blog discusses the USAID Yaajeende Project’s community-based, market-orientated food systems approach to sustainably improve nutrition with private sector support from NCBA CLUSA. Using their respective private sector and civil society resources and influence, CLUSA and the Yaajeende Project were able to improve women’s nutrition through access to land rights and strengthened partnerships between government and civil society.
FAO’s Community of Practice on Food Loss Reduction opened a discussion on food loss and waste and nutrition to bring together program planners and field implementers working on one of the two topics (FLW and nutrition). The goal of the consultation was to compile and gather relevant material already available and known by experts and practitioners. The consultation consisted of 3 sessions of online discussion in the CoP Forum on how and if FLW reduction affect people’s nutritional status, and how reduced FLW and related micronutrient losses lead to improve food security and human nutrition.